Scripture reading – Jeremiah 14-17
Today’s Scripture reading continues Jeremiah’s prophetic warnings concerning the judgment that would soon befall Judah. It is believed by the date of our text that Judah has been invaded and Jerusalem besieged by King Nebuchadnezzar. The sorrow and desperation of God’s people and the reality that He had determined His judgment was a great sorrow for Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 14 – A Judgment of Drought
Knowing God often chastises a nation physically for its sin and wickedness, we are not surprised to read that there was a “dearth,” a drought in Judah. The LORD had withheld rain and there was a great famine (Jeremiah 14:1-22). “There was no rain in the earth” (14:4) and cows delivered their calves, but forsook them because there was no grass (14:5).
In the midst of the famine, and desperate for help, the people began to pray to the LORD, making a pretense of confessing and repenting of their sins (14:7-9). But God, who knows what lies is in the hearts of men (Luke 16:15; Acts 1:24; 15:8; Romans 8:27), knew the people were not sincere and would not turn from their sins.
The LORD announced His judgment would not be deterred (14:10-12).
Jeremiah’s heart being heavy with sorrow interceded for Judah, and suggested the sins of the people was due to false prophets who had led them astray (14:13). The LORD conceded the presence of false prophets in Judah; however, He declared, “I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them” (14:14).
Nevertheless, the people had disobeyed God and turned from His Law and Commandments. They had persecuted the prophets of the LORD and turned to false prophets. Because of their wickedness, the LORD declared the people would die by famine and the sword (14:16).
Jeremiah 14 continues with the prophet weeping day and night (14:17). Babylon had invaded the land and the presence of death and judgment was everywhere. Jeremiah observed,
Jeremiah 14:18a – If I go forth into the field, then behold the slain with the sword! and if I enter into the city, then behold them that are sick with famine!”
Understanding the magnitude and decisiveness of God’s judgment, Jeremiah wondered, “[LORD], Hast thou utterly rejected Judah? hath thy soul lothed Zion? why hast thou smitten us, and there is no healing for us? we looked for peace, and there is no good; and for the time of healing, and behold trouble!” (14:19)
Interceding for his people, Jeremiah identified with and confessed the sins of Judah (14:20) and implored the LORD, “Do not abhor us, for thy name’s sake [i.e. remember Israel was identified with God who chose them], do not disgrace the throne of thy glory [heaven’s throne]: remember, break not thy covenant with us” [remember Your covenant promises] (14:21).
Jeremiah confessed that only God could save Judah (14:22).
Jeremiah 15 – The Inevitability of God’s Judgment
Judah’s wickedness had passed the point of no reprieve and the LORD responded to Jeremiah’s intercessory prayer (14:20-22). Judgment would come upon the nation and the death and destruction that would spell the end of Judah was described in vivid detail (15:1-9).
Jeremiah 15:10-21 gives us a window into the soul of the prophet when he cried out to the LORD and lamented the sorrows and rejection he had suffered as God’s prophet (15:10). Though he had become an object of scorn and persecution (15:15), Jeremiah found refuge and hope in God’s promises (15:18-21).
Jeremiah 15:20-21 – “…I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the LORD. 21 And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.”
What a blessed promise for those who endure persecution and put their trust in the LORD!
1 Corinthians 15:57-58 – “57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith